McConnell Praises Judge Justin Walker: A “Widely-Admired Legal Expert”

WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Judge Justin Walker of Kentucky:

“Later today, the Senate will confirm Judge Justin Walker of Kentucky to join the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Now, as I’ve noted, in just the last several weeks Judge Walker has given the Senate several new reasons to support his nomination to the second-most-important federal bench.

“In testimony before our colleagues on the Judiciary Committee, he demonstrated an impressive grasp of legal precedent.

“At his current post as District Judge for the Western District of Kentucky, he eloquently applied this understanding to uphold Americans’ religious liberty.

“And he earned the approval of the American Bar Association with a rating of well-qualified.

“But of course, Judge Walker’s credentials were already sterling.

“Long before this nominee began practicing and then applying the law, he was collecting plaudits for his excellence at studying it.

“Judge Walker, as I’ve mentioned before, graduated from Duke University, summa cum laude and Harvard Law School, magna cum laude. Those credentials could easily lead someone to an elite law firm in a big city. Instead, they led Judge Walker to clerkships for then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh and then-Justice Anthony Kennedy, and then to the University of Louisville.

“He quickly became a star faculty member, producing distinguished scholarship on a wide range of legal issues.

“And once Judge Walker took his current seat on the bench for the Western District of Kentucky, he wasted no time building an equally strong reputation for the fairness and open-mindedness that Americans deserve from their judges.

“In one letter to our colleagues on the Judiciary Committee, 100 practicing attorneys from across Kentucky said, quote, “if Judge Walker is confirmed, we could give our clients an assessment of him for which any judge should strive: he is sharp, fair, and will follow the law.”

“In another letter, sixteen different state attorneys general told us, quote, “as someone from outside the Beltway with a commitment to the rule of law, we know that Judge Walker will listen to the arguments of advocates appearing before him, that he will weigh the facts against the law as it is written (and not as he wishes it to be), and that he will fairly decide those cases based upon controlling precedent.”

“These glowing assessments are not from elite corporate counsel or frequent flyers on the D.C. circuit. They are from men and women across Kentucky and across America who have seen this man work and watched his career.

“Republican presidents have a proud tradition of looking beyond the Washington D.C. region to freshen up the D.C. Circuit with diverse perspectives from across America. President Nixon thought this crucial court could use the expertise of a Texan and a Minnesotan. President Reagan chose legal minds from Colorado and North Carolina. President Bush 41 chose a South Carolinian, and President Bush 43 a Californian.

“So when the Senate confirms Judge Walker to this vacancy, we will not just be promoting a widely-admired legal expert and proven judge to a role for which he is obviously qualified.

“We’ll also be adding to a time-honored tradition of finding men and women from all across the country to help ensure that this enormously consequential bench here in our nation’s capital is refreshed with talent from all parts of America.

“My fellow Kentuckians and I are sorry to part with this son of the Bluegrass.

“But mostly, we are proud, because Judge Walker will be putting his legal brilliance and his exceptional judicial temperament to work not just for his home state, but for our entire nation, and in even more consequential ways.

“I look forward to voting to confirm Judge Justin Walker and I urge each of my colleagues to do the same.”

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